Racism continues to dog European football

Photo via UK Daily Mail — Anton Ferdinand (left) and John Terry (right) face off

Chelsea captain John Terry was caught on tape yelling what appeared to be racist remarks at Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand during a Barclay’s Premier League match on October 23.

John Terry made the following statement about the accusations against him:

“I thought Anton was accusing me of using a racist slur against him. I responded aggressively, saying that I never used that term,” he said. “I’ve seen that there’s a lot of comments on the internet with regards to some video footage of me during the game. I’m disappointed that people have leapt to the wrong conclusions about the context of what I was seen to be saying to Anton Ferdinand. I would never say such a thing and I’m saddened that people would think so.”

Well John, the video bellow would prove otherwise:

Video via the Guardian.

Anton Ferdinand, who frankly doesn’t need to prove anything here because the video says it all, made the following statement:

“I have very strong feelings on the matter but in the interests of fairness and not wishing to prejudice what I am sure will be a very thorough inquiry by the FA, this will be my last comment on the subject until the inquiry is concluded.”

This kind of behavior is far too common in European football, but usually the racial slurs come from unruly fans. Incidents include racist chants and signs in Spain while Cameroonian Samuel Eto’o played for Barcelona and in Italy at Mario Balotelli (of Ghanian descent).

As an American, I believe the fact that there was never an equivalent movement in Europe to the Civil Rights movement in America, that there are still so many Europeans who consider screaming racial slurs acceptable behavior in their culture.

I don’t feel like I’m taking an unreasonable stance when I believe there needs to be harsher punishment against racist behavior in European football. The culture needs to change.

The president of FIFA (football’s governing body) Sepp Blatter said that on-pitch incidents should be solved on the pitch.

“There is no racism [on the field], but maybe there is a word or gesture that is not correct,” Blatter told CNN. “The one affected by this should say this is a game and shake hands.”

Blatter has since apologized for his statement, but what an idiotic thing for Football’s most powerful leader to say. Clearly he meant it, and subsequently backtracked after he took heat from the like of David Beckham, Sol Campbell, Arsene Wenger and other prominent figures in the footballing world.

Thankfully, the police and the Crown Prosecution Service are reviewing the incident (we’ll see if this take forever even though the video evidence is right in front of them). There needs to be an incentive that makes using racial slurs culturally unacceptable in Europe. If that means making an example of John Terry, then so be it.